***Update Jan 2021: Unfortunately this company has entirely gone out of business which is a shame because I thought the app did a really great job at monitoring workouts. I have not tried any of the suggest apps they said it is compatible with yet.
A couple of months ago when Riding Warehouse was having one of their 20% off sales, I decided to splurge and get the Hylofit Heart Rate Monitor. When it comes to fitness, I love any statistics I can get, so being able to track both my heart rate and my horses while riding really appealed to me. The Hylofit systems comes with a girth attachment, horse transmitter, rider transmitter, and chest attachment for rider.
The directions for set-up are fairly straight forward and easy to follow. It did take me a couple of tries to get it completely reading the whole ride. The girth attachment sensors need to either be really wet or have electrode gel on them to ensure the best connectivity. I have been using water for now, but might invest in some cheap electrode or ultrasound gel from Amazon soon. The girth piece is slid under the girth (I’ve done both jumping and dressage) on the left side of the horse. Once its under, its a quick pair up with the app and you’re ready to go. For the rider heart rate, I have not actually used the provided heart rate monitor. I prefer to ride with my Apple Watch which easily connects to the Hylofit app to capture my heart rate.
The Hylofit does require you to ride with your phone in your left pocket while capturing heart rates which can sometimes be difficult if you wear breeches with only the short upper pockets or prefer to not ride with your phone. I have found that a jacket pocket is still close enough to the transmitter to capture the data, but prefer my riding tights with size pockets.
I have had about 5 rides using the Hylofit and really enjoy the information I am capturing from it. My first four rides have been on Montego and my most recent on MacHenry (a 16.3 Draft Cross). Hylofit easily allows you to add multiple horses and separates the data for you in the app.
It was shocking the difference of heart rates between the two horses. MacHenry is larger and a bit more out of shape than Montego which was easy to tell by his heart rate. During our longer sets of trot and canter, Mac was getting into the 80-90% category for prolonged periods of time. For a 30 min ride, I knew exactly how his was recovering and doing as to not over exhaust him in the beginning of these conditioning rides. I am looking forward to using this more to see how his conditioning improves.
Overall, I am really happy with the technology of the Hylofit System. If I constantly kept it on my girth I might use it more often than I do, but sometimes I honestly forget I have it. It has been a great tool to better understand the condition my horse is in. Most of the time I think the ride is hard and Montego is barely breaking a sweat. I wish I had only gotten the horse transmitter and girth connection as I only use my Apple Watch for my heart rate, but it is nice to have if other people in the barn want to give it a try on their horses.